An Absence of Training

April 23, 2014

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Ian is peeing in the potty. And on trees. He spends his days in underwear. This happened suddenly, without stickers or chocolate chips or peeing on Cheerios. Now, we are nowhere with poop, except that he’s now closing himself into the bathroom to poop in whatever he happens to be wearing at the time. In Ian’s words, “Pooping on the potty is hard.” I’m trusting that when he’s ready, he’ll do it. Until then, I do a lot of laundry.

Ian is weaning himself. In the last seven days, he’s only asked for milk in the morning twice. He’s only nursing before bedtime. I didn’t have to do anything, and I’m trusting that when he’s ready, he’ll let me know, or maybe we won’t even talk about it. Until then, I don’t offer, but I don’t refuse, and every time he’s sick I’m incredibly grateful to provide that source of comfort and nourishment.

We sleep-trained when Ian was nine months old. We read and followed a book. He cried. I cried. We did check-ins. He adjusted quickly and for all intents and purposes, the training was “successful.” But I still don’t know how I feel about it. That’s a lie. I feel really sad about it. I worry that those cries were my child needing me and, while I didn’t leave him alone, I may have not been meeting his needs, and that breaks my heart. Lately, Ian has taken to calling out for me quite often in the middle of the night, or coming into our room. I actually enjoy this quiet time to snuggle him. His needs are so simple, and so easily met. He just wants connection. I often end up sleeping in his room for part of the night. He will be falling asleep and will periodically call out, “Mama?” “I’m right here, bud.” Then he sleeps. It feels like repair work. Making up for those nights where he cried and I stood in the doorway, afraid to pick him up and “undo” all the work the authors had told us to do.

I’m not sharing any of this in judgement of parents who train or use charts or whathaveyou. Having a child who hits has taught me to NEVER make any assumptions around what another parent should or should not do. My only belief is to do what works for your family, and the rest is none of my business. I just think it’s interesting how much parenting I did that was based on fear. Like, if we don’t sleep train, he’ll NEVER sleep through the night, or if we don’t provide incentives to use the potty, he’ll NEVER be out of diapers. If I don’t figure out how to stop his aggression, he’ll NEVER stop hitting. That last one I’m still struggling with, although I see progress (thank you thank you thank you to all that is holy, and Barbara Olinger).



Green Quinoa Salad

April 17, 2014



Hi! Check out my guest post at The Sanctuary and make this salad. It’s good.

Cute Candy

April 7, 2014


I’m a sugar addict. My husband claims to be a sugar addict (sometimes I believe him but then I see him eat a single bowl of ice cream and have my doubts). So as parents we’re in that weird place where we don’t want to ban sugar from Ian because that makes it all the sexier but we also don’t want to have zero limits around sugar intake.

We don’t have sugar in the house, although I make plenty of sweet treats with maple syrup or coconut sugar. And we’ve noticed that when Ian is around real red dye number five high fructose corn syrup sugar, he LOVES it. All about it, and curiously, he doesn’t get hyper. He becomes sort of groovy (this is making me think of those people who can drink all day and not seem drunk; they’re called alcoholics). He likes to peddle candy to others when he’s not allowed anymore, and he’s a very persuasive salesman (“Look at this, it’s a red jelly bean, you should eat it, it’s so so yummy.”) He’s even sort of cool with candy limits. We won’t take candy away, but we make him wait and have one piece per day.

There have been a couple times where the candy limit was breached. It’s very hard to be firm while witnessing the pure glee of sneaking sugar. It’s the best TV ever.

Below is Ian with two Starbursts. He’d already enjoyed a bubble gum flavored lollipop at the bank, and an orange Starburst at the tailor. Said tailor snuck two additional Starbursts into his pockets, which he wanted to devour immediately. After I put the kibbosh on that, we compromised that he wouldn’t eat the candy, he would just hold it.

To his credit, he only licked them once.

Superfood Granola

March 13, 2014

If you’re a sugar-free kinda family (or trying to be), finding a tasty granola that is less than $8 a bag is HARD to find. That’s why I make ours.

Nursing mamas, the oats and flax in here will be your milky friends. Also, you can eat this for quick and sustained energy by the handful when your hands are, you know, not full.

Once you have the formula down, you can sub different nuts and seeds with whatever you have in your pantry.

Breakfast is ready.


Superfood Granola

  • ¾ cup coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3 cups almond slivers
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • ½ cup coconut sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 “flax eggs” (2 tablespoons ground flax mixed with 6 tablespoons water, stir and let sit for five minutes to set up)
  • 4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 2 cups unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ cup hemp seeds
  • ¼ cup chia seeds

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a heavy-bottomed, medium pot, melt the oil with the salt over low heat. Add almonds, increase the heat to medium, and cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes, or until lightly toasted. Add the maple syrup and sugar, reduce the heat to low, and stir until melted. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract.

In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients. Add almond mixture and the “flax eggs” and toss until the oats are evenly coated.

Spread the oat mixture on prepared pans. Bake for 15 minutes, stir, and bake for 10 more minutes


Gluten Free, Refined Sugar Free, Vegan Blueberry Muffins (yes, they’re good).

March 12, 2014


It’s still breakfast time. I love breakfast, and often eat breakfast foods all day long. I’m a rule breaker. Also, my kiddo tends to eat best early in the day, so I try to seize the moment and get as many nutrients into him as possible. This is a muffin that nourishes and satisfies minus any empty carb sugar crashes. Sub other berries or fruits, add nuts, go crazy. And tell me about it!

Here’s the recipe (be sure to stick around for a spell and learn more about The Sanctuary).


Becoming the Proud Parent of a Hitter

February 11, 2014


It’s February. I have a three year old. Today is a good day. Zero hitting. Hitting can be Ian’s go to some days, and it’s taken me the last year and a half to come to terms with it. Not that my terms have fully come yet, but they have packed the car with a lunch and are on their way.

Today, he has successfully not thrown a car, a boot, and a water bottle. He’s had the thought, swung his arm behind his head, heard my reminder to keep my body safe, paused, and dropped said objects to the floor behind him.


I am under no illusions that physical aggression is done. It may be something he’s challenged by always, but I rejoice in the pause. In knowing he has the ability to not do it.

Through each parenting challenge, I fully acknowledge that I’m actually parenting myself. Every time I ask Ian to keep my body safe, I’m that little girl who was attacked and bullied. I have to remember that my child is not the enemy, and that I am safe. I now have the opportunity to speak up when as a child I did not feel safe to do so.

When I was bullied and went to my second grade teacher, I was told, “Boys will be boys.” I think this is complete cop out and was extremely negligent on her part. However, I also see that some kids just have this temperament. I’m not excusing it at all and I never let a physical transgression happen without discussion and removal if it doesn’t stop, but I also have to acknowledge that Ian hitting doesn’t mean I’m a bad mom or he’s a bad kid. It’s not because I don’t discipline or he doesn’t listen to me. There is nothing else for me to “do” other than be consistent, focus on connecting with Ian and let him know that no matter if the behavior is acceptable or unacceptable, he is worthy of love and belonging.

Anyone else out there a proud parent of a “hitter?”


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